I am a big fan of holidays and holiday themed learning for younger kids! My son is 6, and he really enjoys the changes in the seasons and holidays. I have encouraging his love of STEM and STEAM activities by mixing them up with holiday themes and colors. As Valentine’s Day approaches, I decided to throw together a Valentines Day tinker tray to catch his eye. It’s the first in our series of 14 Days of Valentine’s STEM Countdown.
Valentines Day Tinker Tray STEM Activity
These kind of STEM and STEAM activities my seem like a somewhat new concept for kids activities. They are really gaining popularity as the exposure to STEM and STEAM become more of a focus and an important part of our kid’s education. Just imagine the kid who sits for hour making little things with this Valentines Day tinker tray may one day design the world’s strongest bridge, tallest building, or a machine to help others. This is just the beginning, and it’s so easy to do!
What’s the purpose of our Valentines Day tinker tray?
A tinker tray is also like an inventors tray, a creators tray, a makers tray. A tinker tray is filled with a variety materials to make what your imagination dreams up. Make a contraption. Make a gadget. Make your very own invention. A tinker tray is much more than a craft activity.
Our Valentines Day tinker tray is of course a themed tinker tray featuring the traditional colors and objects that represent Valentine’s Day. Check out our Christmas Tinker Kit for more ideas. I chose materials that are theme specific but also that I hope will encourage a major new invention!
What’s on our Valentines Day Tinker Tray?
I love the the dollar store for themed materials to add to our regular tinker kit materials.
On the tray above you will find cups, pipe cleaners, straws, popsicle sticks, loom bands, rubber bands, bottle caps, clothespins, paperclips, cookie cutters, old CD cases, balloons, hardware items, and a small notebook for designing an planning.
Everyday supplies for tinker trays
You do need a few everyday supplies on hand to complement a tinker tray like scissors, paper, markers or colored pencils, and glue. In the picture below, you can see all the supplies we normally have on hand to accompany our tinkering projects. To supplement your Valentines Day tinker tray, I always have available non themed tapes, popsicle sticks, straws, pipe cleaners, regular clear tape, scissors, play dough, glue and glue sticks. I also keep a basket handy where I add recyclable items or items like styrofoam trays and cups. That way, we have a constant stock to choose from. Add fun packaging materials you might receive from electronics boxes too.
You start looking at “junk” in a whole new way!
What can you make with your Valentines Day tinker tray?
Just start tinkering and you will figure it out. I don’t provide a set invention for my son to build with specific instructions. If he is stuck, I encourage him to spend some time just trying out the supplies. Eventually an idea comes to mind. If one doesn’t, I might suggest he build a robot or something along those lines. Still plenty of room for imagination and creation.
I believe his first creation was a light saber/laser beam thingy.
Join the 14 Days of Valentine’s STEM! Lots of fun ideas and some will use the materials on this tray.
Create a Valentines Day Tinker Tray for your little inventor.
Some of our favorite STEM tools at home! Amazon Affiliate Disclosure: I receive compensation for any items sold through this site. Our ideas are always free to enjoy and try at school or home.